Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Friday, July 3, 2015

Portland's Black Rooster Cafe

The first place I ate at in Portland, Oregon, isn't around any more.

We were walking along and decided to get a little something to eat and drink before going to Powell's. It was nice sitting there drinking this refreshing cup of iced tea.

People watching, bike watching, street car watching.

And enjoying a really delicious salmon with pest burger. I haven't found one better since. And since Black Rooster Cafe isn't around any more not able to have another one there. But I am glad I did at least once.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Patria Pops Up Puerto Rico in Portland

I have planned to go to Patria for some time and with the advent of summer weather it felt like the time was right. 

Patria is a pop-up that is held once a month in Ataula in Portland, Oregon. Ataula serves great Spanish food and makes a really nice setting for the Patria dinners. However Patria's focus is on the cuisine of Puerto Rico which makes it very unique here in the North West.

Something new at Ataula is this amazing large mural over the open kitchen.

Xavier Tabera on drums along with a guitar player provided live music for the evening.

We started off with a welcome cocktail which was mango piragua on shaved ice in a cone. Very clever and fun presentation.

Just a photo of some of the wines at Ataula for those who might find this of interest.

For food first up were housemade pork cracklings with red pepper and fleur de sel. I did try one and found that even with the red pepper it wasn't too hot and was crispy and light.

Being in a summer weather mood I opted for a glass of Ecliptic blood orange pale ale. Also known as Superfuzz. This was a good choice for the meal with it's bit of citrus fruit fruit flavor and lighter taste.

Little tins of Escabeche with halibut, onions, togarashi, vinegar, mashed potatoes, olive oil, chili, caviar were offered to dinners. Lots of exclamations of liking this dish from diners. The balance and flavors were really nice and reminded me of certain Japanese cuisine.

Chefs Cristina and Natalia popped out from time to time to tell us about the dishes. Cristina explained how tonight's diner was memory food, that is the food their mothers and grandmothers made, dishes one would have in the summer in Puerto Rico. The meal definitely transmitted that vibe.

I was excited to see what we would be served. Next up on the chopping block (sorry, could not resist) were a Fried mango crisp with caviar at the bottom and at the top Mofongo of mango and BeeLocal smoked honey. The pipette contained Marshall's Haute Sauce Patria Pique to be dripped on the crisp. Very clever and both tasty bites along with the Pique which again was less hot than I expected. I like that because I can taste the flavors of other ingredients and not have my taste buds blown out.

Bacalaito of cod, rcao and sofrito, Yuca fritta with stewed cod with salt, and serenata a classic cold cod salad were presented. Another set of delicious dishes. My favorite was the Bacalaito. I made sure to eat it first while hot. Really delicious. I hope this is the kind of food Patria will serve when they pop-up at "Off The Cart" at Lardo's Hawthorne location on July 12th.

I would not be surprised if this sandwich did show up at their Lardo appearance. Cristina explained this is the kind of food you would get when spending the day at the beach in Puerto Rico. It's a sandwich on a roll made by St. Honoré which is right by Ataula and also worth checking out. The sandwich was served with rice fritters. Feeling thirsty and hearing how much others were enjoying Ataula's seasonal sangria I decided to try a glass. Best sangria I have tasted.

Chicken, pork loin, kobe flank, with mayo, ketchup, red leaf lettuce, ñame, and almojabanas made up the sandwich. Although it was really good I only ate a little bit of it because I knew it would fill me up and we were only about half way through dinner. A to-go box was offered and I gratefully took it. It's really nice when pop-up dinners offer this service since not everyone can eat everything that gets served. I love being able to enjoy these dishes the next day.

More small bites with Relleno with avocado and chicken skin at the top and Arañitas, which is plantains, with mayo-ketchup sauce at the bottom.

The Chicharrones de Pollo organic chicken on top of ñame root vegetable puree with mojito sauce was a nod to Cristina's mother's fried chicken. So good that I ate every last bit of it even though I was feeling a bit full.

That was followed by Canoas lamb on top of ripe plantain, rice and avocado. I admit I took most of this to go and enjoyed it the next day. I loved the big plantain underneath.

The three chefs doing magic in the kitchen. Maria in the back, Natty in the middle and Cristina on the right.

And rows of small bites for us diners.

Which were Mangú with red onions and a quail egg on the left and platanutre of chips with Jacobsen Salt on the right. Doing small plates is good when a chef wants to offer diners a wide range of tastes and dishes. It also fit with the tapas concept of Ataula.

Last serving was a delicious dessert of Caribbean cherry and coconut along with sponge cake with dulce de leche and almonds. Well done and I would be happy to have these again. One of my favorite things about pop-ups are all the delicious non-traditional desserts that are served.

The three chefs Maria, Cristina and Natalia at the end of another successful Patria dinner.

How to get to attend one of Patria's dinners? They can be followed at PatriaPDX on Twitter or you can check out their website here where tickets for their July 19th dinner are available.

Patria's location is at Ataula at 1818 NW 23rd Pl, Portland, OR 97210 when they have their once a month dinners. Other nights you can have really great Spanish food there.

One last treat. We were all given a bottle of the Marshall's Haute Sauce used in the dinner. I am going to have to think of something good to use this with.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Washington Park Wildflowers

The other day the Oregon Zoo mentioned there is a wildflower garden near by. Got my interest so when I went up to find tea at the Portland International Rose Test Garden I also went for a search for the wildflowers.

The Oregon Zoo is in Washington Park which is where the Portland Japanese Garden, World Forestry Center and many other places are located.

Along with this small area aglow with a multitude of colors reminiscent of a Monet painting.

In fact it's a street divider just off the Zoo parking lot.

But they did put it to good use with many wildflowers that even with warmer weather were still blooming. So many that I am not going to try to name them. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Washington Park is located in Portland, Oregon. The wildflowers are located to the right of the Zoo entrance if you are facing the entrance. There are buses and the MAX train that stop at the park also.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Best Smelling Place in Portland

Has to be the International Rose Test Garden.

Located in Washington Park it's a very popular place for people to visit.

Understandably why with so many rose varieties that everyone wants to photograph.

In almost every color you could imagine.

 Since the weather was mild the other day I decided to take the train to the park and then the tram to the rose garden. That really is a good way to get there since you don't have to pay for parking.

I've been to the garden a few times which resulted in hundreds of photos. So many it has kept me from doing a blog post in the past.

This time I didn't take as many because I was there for something else.

 But I still took time to stop and smell the roses like these amazing Elina Hybrid Tea blossoms.

Along with a lot of other people with cameras and smart phones. So many so that I made my visit to the interior of the garden brief.

Many of the roses have signs stating what they are but since I wasn't spending much time I only noted a few like these gorgeous Twilight Zone Grandiflora.

Which look even darker in person and smell lovely.

In fact it was nicer just to look at the flowers and just take a few photos.

 If you like flowers and ever in the Portland area I really do suggest visiting the Portland International Rose Test Garden and the area around it during spring and summer.

Because it's more than just these flowers and I may do another post about that.

As for what I really went there for, it was a box of Steven Smith Teamaker White Rose Tea. Because the Portland Rose Garden Store is the only place that sells this. I am looking forward to having a cup soon.